Category Archives: Rants

Encore #17: Larkin was right …

The old always think the world is going to the dogs. I try to resist. Sometimes, though, it is difficult.  Going, gone (Nov 23, 2011) The main road west from Cambridge used to go down the main street of the … Continue reading

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The all-you-can-eat book buffet

One of the fixtures of the Cambridge year is the annual Cambridge University Press booksale. It lasts for a week or ten days in January, with the shelves continually being replenished as they empty. The Press sell off oodles of … Continue reading

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Stefan Collini writes again about the attack on universities

In the latest London Review of Books, Stefan Collini writes again from the heart and with critical incisiveness about the privatisation disasters befalling British universities. Here’s his peroration: Future historians, pondering changes in British society from the 1980s onwards, will … Continue reading

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Coffee culture

When I was a lad, a long while since, the usual English alternative to tea seemed to be a beverage known as ‘milky coffee’. Black coffee was suspiciously foreign or downright louche — and indeed had to be drunk as … Continue reading

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Going, gone

The main road west from Cambridge used to go down the main street of the market town of St. Neots. But there has long since been a bypass, and it is quite a while since I’ve turned off to take … Continue reading

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He that toucheth pitch …

The story so far. The Observer run a piece entitled ‘Academic fury over order to study the big society’ which starts off Academics will study the “big society” as a priority, following a deal with the government to secure funding … Continue reading

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Not even close

Given the choice, I prefer hearing a good string quartet play to almost any other concert-going. When we lived in Sheffield, we were spoilt by being able to go to see the Lindsays in their prime (and we also got … Continue reading

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Flattery will get you nowhere: I want cash

I’ve just been asked to report on an application for a substantial grant from a rather wealthy grant-awarding body. “We will greatly value your expert opinion” etc. etc. Huh. I’m sure you will. Value it so much you aren’t offering … Continue reading

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Pseuds vs academic bureaucrats

Let me come clean. By my lights, the University of Middlesex philosophy department appears to be a fount of appallingly pretentious pseudery and intellectual garbage of the worst kind. Don’t take my word for it; have a browse through the … Continue reading

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Planet de Botton

I’m all for popularizing philosophy in the right kind of way, and admire — not to say envy — the likes of A.C. Grayling and my colleague Simon Blackburn for their prose styles, their immense energy, good sense, ability to … Continue reading

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